To Dream of a Tale and To Tail a Dream

By Emilou

Kayura's Dream

"Who get's to go next?"

The table went silent at Dais' question. Everyone looked around as if hesitant to speak up, even though they fought for the chance to go after Kento's story.

Robyn wanted to tell everyone her dream, but she still couldn't remember all of it. What happened in her dream? How did it begin? Cye was there at the start, she thought.

"May I go next?"

It was Kayura who made the request so politely. Gallantly, the boys let her go, someone even saying, "Ladies first."

Kayura sneezed into her handkerchief, daintily blowing her nose. She smiled in embarrassment as if her allergies were something to be ashamed of. "Let me take some medicine first," she said, her voice muffled from a stuffed-up nose.

From a purse, she pulled out a box of individually wrapped pills, took two out and drank them down with her orange juice.

"These things always make me sleepy," Kayura said, her eyes half-closed as if falling sleep already. "The beginning of my dream was a bit chaotic, flashes of scenes here and there. I had the idea that I was flying somewhere."

Kayura paused to yawn widely.

Waiting to be sucked into the dream, Robyn kept her eyes moving around for whatever would take her away. But nothing happened as Kayura spoke. Maybe being in the past two dreams was just her imagination. Even now, the sense of being in the dreams was quickly fading.

"I also remember being in a forest. The Ronins were there from the beginning, but the Warlords weren't. Neither was Robyn," Kayura continued on, her voice going up and down in a hypnotizing rhythm. "I had to go get her from across the water and bring her to the forest. I taught her how to fly."

Robyn yawned feeling tired as well. The hot chocolate she drank sat warm in her stomach, calming her. She leaned against the table, setting her head on crossed arms. As she listened, she allowed her eyes to slowly blink.

And they wouldn't open again. But she didn't care. It felt as if she were in a deep sleep, cozy and warm.

Abruptly she woke up, the wonderful sleep she was lulled into gone, as well was the cafè and everyone inside it. She was surprised, yet a sarcastic part of her wondered why since this was the third time the dreams swept her up.

Assessing her surroundings, Robyn saw that she was in some sort of hut made with sticks and dried grass. The ground underneath her was covered in soft leaves. In front of her was the hut's door with a stick poking through to make a crude handle.

On the other side of the door was the dream, ready to seize a hold of her and carrying her off into who knew what. She could already feel an invisible force pushing her into action.

"Give me a minute," she said to nothing at all, just wanting a moment to prepare for the unknown. However, she didn't get that moment when she realized her voice sounded strange. "What's wrong with my voice?"

Remembering how her appearance had changed in Kento's dream, she looked down at her body to see if that was the case now. Relieved, she clenched human hands and wriggled human toes. Besides being dressed in an old-fashioned nightgown, she seemed completely normal. Ready for what lay ahead, she stood up and opened the door.

The hut was built in the middle of a clearing with large trees surrounding it. A few yards away from Robyn, five young boys stood in a line, smiling broadly. They looked to be varied ages between six and ten, wearing clothing made from animal skins and layers of dirt on their faces.

Robyn recognized them right away even if they looked different from their teenage selves.

"Lost Boys, say hello to your new mother," a female voice said from above. Kayura stood fifteen feet in the air and clothing made entirely of leaves like some woodland elf with her hands on her hips. Like the Ronins, she also was younger than her usual self, but the eldest of the group, probably around twelve.

"Mother!" the boys shouted and rushed Robyn, throwing their arms around her in a needy way.

Feeling claustrophobic about so much physical contact, especially since more than one of the boys had a snotty nose, Robyn took a step back, pushing the boys away gently with small pats on their heads. She tried to give them reassuring smiles, but inside she was screaming.

A mother!

She wasn't anyone's mother. What kind of dream was this that she was in charge of children? She had never imagined ever being the kind of woman who would become a mother. She didn't exactly have any good role-models in that aspect between her mother and the foster mothers she had stayed with while in the States. In fact, if she had to name a positive maternal influence, it would be Cye's mother.

Still panicking, Robyn realized just how tall the boys were compared to herself. Calming down, she looked back down at her hands, seeing that they were smaller than she was used to. She was a child herself.

Relieved, Robyn recalled Kayura's words. Say hello to your new mother. She wasn't their real mother. Or even the age of one. Maybe this was like a game; they were playing house.

"Hello, boys," Robyn said, stepping away from them.

"Did you like the house we built you?" Ryo asked, wiping his nose on his sleeve.

Robyn was only able to disguise her disgust by turning her head back to the hut.

It was small, like a child's playhouse. The outside looked similar to the inside; a jumble of sticks, bundles of grass and vines keeping it together. However, it didn't looked sturdy and could topple over in a strong breeze.

"It's lovely," Robyn said graciously with a smile, moving away from the unsound structure. "But I don't think I'm qualified to be a mother. I really don't have any experience."

Or desire, Robyn added to herself.

"That's alright," Kento pipped up. "We don't really have any expectations, so you won't disappoint us."

Somehow, that made Robyn feel better. After all, they should know she wasn't a real mother. All she had to do was think of this as a game. Eventually, the dream would be over.

"Alright, so as your mother, what am I suppose to do?" Robyn asked, as if asking an employer.

The boys looked confused. Apparently they didn't know what a mother was suppose to do either.

Kayura stepped in, looking confident. "There will be plenty of on-the-job training. For now, do the best you can, but you're under evaluation." Kayura's words and manner did not seem like a child, but of one mimicking an adult.

Remembering the few times she had babysat, Robyn turned to that role for inspiration. "In that case, what do you boys want to do?" A cacophony of ideas were shouted in her face.

"Let's go hunting."

"I want to play hide-n-seek."

"I'm hungry. Let's look for berries."

"To the beach. To the beach."

"How about a ball game?"

"Easy, guys," Robyn settled the group with gestures. "All those things sound fun, but we need to pick only one. How about I think of a number between one and twenty, and you. . ." Before Robyn could finish her sentence, Kayura swooped down and interrupted.

"Hey, I'm the Pan. I get to choose what we do," she demanded, her face scrunched up with seriousness. "And I choose. . ." She let her sentence hang in the air dramatically.

The Ronin boys waited eagerly.

". . .To the beach!" Kayura announced, pointing out the direction. She zipped away, rising above the trees.

There was no whining or complaining about the decision. All whooped with glee and headed into the jungle.

Robyn hesitated to follow when she felt an inkling of déjà vu. How she woke up in the hut, meeting the boys and the jungle, it all seemed familiar. It was as if Robyn had seen this scene before, but where? Kayura called the Ronins "Lost Boys," and she was "the Pan." Where had she heard those names before?

Robyn quickly pushed these thoughts away. How could Kayura's dream feel familiar to her? It wasn't possible. It wasn't as if Dais' and Kento's dreams evoked the same emotion.

Yet as she recalled the two previous adventures, she wondered if she had. . .

"Come on, Robyn," Cye said, taking her hand. "It's this way."

Cye's words interrupted Robyn's thoughts right when an idea came to her. But the child's words were enough to scare them away.

Inside the jungle, Robyn worried that keeping track of the five boys would be similar to Dais' dream where she was continuously rescuing dwarfs from this danger or that peril. Surprisingly, the kids traversed the jungle deftly, keeping to the trail and avoiding dangerous flora and fauna alike. There was even one instance where young Sage prevented her from stepping on a sleeping, venomous snake.

When the jungle ended, they popped out onto a beautiful, white beach surrounded by the clearest, bluest water Robyn had ever seen. Although she disliked swimming and was a little afraid of the ocean, she did appreciate the amazing scene before her.

After taking in the sight, Robyn realized the boys weren't on the beach. They had already discarded their furs to dive into the waves in only leather loin cloths. They began their games and rough-housing without giving Robyn even a backward glance. Kayura join in, flying in and out of the water, playing as roughly as any of the boys.

Glad she wasn't invited to join them in the water, Robyn happily stayed on the shore, letting the tide play with her toes. It appeared as if her new role as their "mother" wasn't needed. Even when one of the boys were hurt, they only cried for a while before jumping back in the fray.

Whether she was bored or wanted to do something else, Kayura suddenly stopped playing with the Lost Boys and flew back into the jungle. As if that was a sign, the boys left the water, separating to their own devices. Cye continued to splash in the waves while the others either played in the sand or explored the shore. Kayura returned after a few minutes, carrying fruit, which she dropped in the sand. Taking her cue, the boys quickly dressed and gathered together to eat her offering.

As they ate, Robyn watched the children, seeing how the boys interacted with Kayura. It was obvious that the girl was the leader the way she bossed the others around. The Lost Boys looked to her for approval if they made a joke or suggested something.

"I'm full," Kayura announced, throwing the rest of her fruit into the ocean.

The boys copied her, whether they were done or not.

Half-way through a banana, Robyn stopped mid-bite when the others stared at her. Seeing that they expected her to fall in line, she obligingly threw the rest of the fruit into the waves.

"What are we going to do now, Kayura Pan?" Kento asked eagerly.

Putting a hand on her chin, Kayura looked deep in thought. The gesture was so exaggerated, that most likely it was pretense. After the dramatic pause, she declared, "We're going on a treasure hunt."

"Treasure hunt!" the boys screamed as if this was the best idea ever.

"Who's going to be the judge?" Rowen asked. "Not it!"

All the boys and Kayura in turn shouted, "Not it!" almost simultaneously. Their grinning faces turned to Robyn.

"Mother's it!" a few shouted, jumping to their feet and running away.

Confused, Robyn wasn't sure what was going on. What was this game? Was it like tag, and that's why they were running away?

"Here's my treasure, Mother," Ryo announced, pressing a shell into her hands. "Isn't it pretty?"

"Er. . .yes it is," Robyn agreed, looking at the glimmering of mother-of-pearl. "What do I do with it?"

"You hold the treasures, and at the end of the game, you decide who found the best treasure," Ryo explained before running back across the sand.

So the game went, the Lost Boys and Kayura bringing Robyn a smattering of shells, rocks, flowers and other things from nature that children would consider treasures. The beach sported several large rock formations and coral reefs that had many nooks and crannies for exploring. There were even a few caves.

Robyn held onto everything, hiking up her nightgown partway to cradle the items, all except a crab that Kento offered. It was a little boring, but Robyn didn't mind following after the kids. She liked watching them run around, not having a care in the world.

"I found it! I found the best treasure ever," one of the boys shouted from out of sight.

Kayura crowed like a rooster and swooped away to find the one who called. The other Lost Boys followed, waving to Robyn to hurry up.

Still keeping all the "treasures" safe, Robyn followed as best she could over rocks and into a shallow cave. There, Kayura and the Lost Boys gathered around a knee-high rock that held an iced cake on a china plate.

"I found it!" Rowen declared with puff chest. "I bet I'll win. Nobody can find a better treasure than this."

The other Lost Boys all nodded in agreement. Nothing could possibly beat a cake.

Robyn frowned at the cake, suspiciously. How did the cake get inside the cave? Who put it there?

"All in favor of voting Rowen as the Master Treasure Hunter say 'Aye'," Kayura called out in an official tone, neglecting the fact that Robyn had been designated the judge.

"Aye," the Lost Boys chorused.

"The ayes have it," Kayura declared, hands on her hips. "Now, let's divide the booty and celebrate."

Without utensils, the children readied to tear the cake apart with sandy fingers. But Robyn stop them.

"Wait!" she shouted, pulling two boys away. In the process, she dropped the gathered treasures. "I don't think its a good idea to eat the cake."

The Lost Boys immediately began to complain; Ryo close to tears. But all this stopped when Kayura raised her hands.

"Lost Boys, you wanted a mother. I brought you a mother," she told them sternly. "Now you must obey your mother."

Hanging their heads, the boys turned away from the cake to help them resist temptation, casting glances to Robyn as if to change her mind

Robyn felt bad. After all, this dream appeared to be harmless. Perhaps the cake was just a cake. Yet, it felt weird to find a cake just sitting there.

Kayura jumped as if she heard an unusual sound. Instantly she was in the air, alert. "Let's get out of here."

More noises echoed through the cave. Shadows moved across the walls. Someone else was there.

"Run," Kayura ordered, flying ahead of the others.

As Robyn ran alongside the Ronins, she saw a few men creeping out from behind rocks, leaping out at the Lost Boys.

"Pirates!" Sage shouted, urging them all to run faster.

"This way," Kayura ushered the group, showing them a path that wasn't hindered by pirates. She flew low and slow so that the boys could keep up.

Robyn's heart pounded faster at each sighting of a new shadow. They remained obscure to her, as if they were half-imagined monsters that lurked in the closet. But even at her quickest, she remained at the end of the pack, watching the Lost Boys scamper farther ahead by the second. It was hard to race across sand and rocks in bare feet, yet the boys did it as if they were made for the terrain.

Without warning, a heavy, thick-weaved net dropped over her head. Weights sewn to the bottom pulled her down, preventing escape. Robyn screamed as she crashed into the sand, each heavy breath scenting rotten fish and sea salt on the rope.

"Yar, I got one," a deep voice declared. It sounded familiar, but the accent was wrong.

Through the thick weave, Robyn could see three figures standing over her, but the net obscured the sight. However, she could guess who they were.

"Let's get this one to the ship," another familiar voice said, using the same pirate accent as the first.

"What about the others?" a third voice asked.

"They'll be long gone. The girl will have made sure of that," the second voice spat.

With no other preamble, the three men grabbed the net and dragged it, along with Robyn, across the beach. Carefully, they loaded the netted girl into a small dinghy and rowed away from the beach.

This whole time, Robyn didn't struggle. Not only was she sure she couldn't lift the heavy net, but she was actually curious as to why these pirates wanted to capture her. She listened quietly in case the men talked to each other, but they rowed in silence.

After some time, the boat bumped against a solid object, wood against wood. The three pirates carried Robyn up a ladder; through her obscured vision, she could see they were boarding a large, wooden ship. Once on board, they dumped her out of the net, their eyes scrutinizing her.

"A girl? The Pan's never brought one o' them before," Cale growled, glaring down at Robyn. He sported a scruffy beard on his chin as well as pirate clothing: a simple white, low collar shirt, thick sash and baggy pants.

The other two were dressed in similar fashion. Dais wore the cliché red-and-white striped shirt with torn breaches, his eye patch fitting right in with the fashion. As for Sekhmet, his clothing was more decorative, indicating that he was the captain right down to his buckled shoes and large hat with ostrich plume. In one hand, he gripped a sharp cutlass, his other arm ended in a silver hook.

In the background, several other men moved about the ship, pulling on ropes or climbing up the mast.

"She hasn't been reported as missin'. Maybe we should throw 'er back," Dais asked.

Robyn shivered, hoping that didn't mean they would toss her into the ocean.

"Did ya check the photos?" Cale asked his companion.

"All the photos are of boys. I don't need to check 'em," Dais replied, sounding irritated.

"Some of 'em boys look like girls. Better check to be sure," Cale reasoned.

Grumbling, Dais pulled out some old-fashion, sepia photos from his pocket. A few he held up to Robyn's face for comparison.

One particular photo captured Robyn's attention. It featured a mother with her young son, who was dressed in a childish sailor's outfit. "Cye," she said without thinking.

"Yar, you know this boy, girlie?" Sekhmet asked, moving his face and hook uncomfortably close to Robyn's.

Feeling as if she made a mistake, Robyn kept her mouth shut.

"Not talkin', ey. Throw 'er into the brig," Sekhmet commanded, gesturing with his hook wildly.

Cale and Dais each grabbed an arm and carried her below deck to an iron jail, locking her inside.

"I'd talk if I were you, girl," Sekhmet said, shaking his hook at Robyn. "It may be a long time before we sail away from the Neverlands, but if ya cooperate, we'll make sure ya get back to yer parents."

"My parents?" Robyn repeated, confused. "But you're pirates. Why would you return me to my parents?" As she asked this, a thought popped into her head. This isn't how the story goes.

Where did that thought come from? What story am I thinking of?

"Because it's what we're paid to do. Not much other reason to capture a bunch o' brats," Cale added with a shrug.

"Not much sense reasoning with 'er," Dais joked. "The Neverlands has her so addled, she probably doesn't remember anythin' past yesterday much less 'er parents."

Robyn pouted, wishing she could put the Warlords in their place. She wasn't the young child they thought. And there was definitely nothing wrong with her memory. Whatever this "Neverlands" was, it didn't make her forget. She remembered that this was a dream. Before she was in a cafè with the Ronins, Warlords and Kayura, drinking hot cocoa. And before that she. . .

What was she doing before arriving at the cafè? She tried to remember, but it was as if there was a big, black spot on her memory.

Was it true? Did the Neverlands make her forget some things?

"Let's not waste any more time on this girl," Sekhmet decided, turning his back on Robyn. "We need to make plans for tomorrow. The sooner we capture those children, the sooner we can make port."

Robyn felt afraid that she would be left in the brig for that long. How long could the dream last? Could it last a night? Or days? When would it end?

"Wait," she called out to the Warlords. When they faced her, she asked, "Are you really going to return the Lost Boys to their parents?"

"There's not much money in it for us if we don't," Sekhmet said, smiling at his own joke.

"What about Kayura? You'll return her, too?" Robyn asked.

They laughed at that question.

"Yar, we'll capture the Kayura Pan if we can, but there're no parents lookin' for 'er," Dais laughed. "Although, a good bounty is on 'er 'ead."

"A bounty? What for?" Robyn demanded, fearful for Kayura.

"Because she's takin' children from their beds and lurin' 'em to the Neverlands, o' course," Cale explained. "Not polite takin' youngsters away from their parents, but it has made us a lot o' money."

As Dais and Cale laughed about making a profit, Sekhmet calmly observed Robyn.

"Yer an awfully chatty girl," he commented, rubbing his chin carefully with his hook. "Never has Kayura brought another girl to the island. I wonder why."

Robyn considered telling them the truth. After all, if the pirates were telling the truth, didn't that mean they were the good guys? But that would mean Kayura was the bad guy? In her own dream?

Before Robyn could decide, Sekhmet spoke first. "Perhaps, this girl has a use. Come along, lads. We should prepare for our next . . . expedition." Then they left.

Once again, Robyn feared she would be stuck in the dream for a night. Hopefully she could fall asleep so morning would come quicker. Could one sleep inside a dream? Robyn was prepared to try.

The cell contained a dirty cot. She laid down on it, tucking her legs and feet inside her nightgown, which didn't give her much warmth. The cell was moist and chilly, the mattress lumpy. Sleep didn't seem likely.

For the first time in the dream, Robyn didn't feel like a teenage girl. She felt like a lost child, wishing she was home, someplace safe and sound.

Not long after the Warlords left, more footsteps stomped down the stairs. Robyn sat up, hoping were coming back. Maybe she could glean more information from them. Three figures descended the stairs, but it wasn't the Warlords. The men were taller, dressed from head to toe in pirate garb, thick beards covering their faces and wobbled as if drunk.

"Mother, are you alright?" a childish voice came from one of the pirates.

Robyn blinked at the surreal image before her eyes, seeing that beyond the beard was a round, youthful faces. It was Ryo in disguise.

"Oh, the cleverness of me," Kayura exclaimed, floating off of Kento's shoulders, taking the pirate cloak with her. "It was my idea on how to rescue you."

"We couldn't let Mother be captured by pirates," Rowen said with determination. The other Ronins nodded in agreement as they cast aside their disguises.

"I have the key," Sage said, finding it hung on a nail. He immediately freed the red-head.

Relieved that she didn't have to stay in the brig all night, Robyn hugged the Ronins fiercely in gratitude.

"I'll take a peak above and call down when the coast is clear," Kayura said, swimming through the air gracefully.

"Don't worry, Mother. We'll get you back on the island, safe and sound," Cye comforted, trying to look brave. He looked so different than the photo Dais had. His hair was wild, his cheeks dirty and his clothing far from what society would find acceptable. But in the photo, he had been smiling widely, a genuine smile. Even the smiles back on the island didn't seem so happy as the one from the image.

"Cye, how long have you been in the Neverlands?" Robyn asked, using the name she heard from the pirates.

"Oh, forever," Cye replied casually.

"For a couple of days? A month?" Robyn inquired.

Cye frowned. "I've always been on the island."

Shaking her head, Robyn tried again. "You weren't born on the island. Kayura brought you here, didn't she?"

The Ronins all nodded.

"Yes, Kayura Pan brought us to the Neverlands," Kento acknowledged. "She's the one who made us Lost Boys."

"But before that, where did you come from?" Robyn asked.

Confused, the boys looked at each other for help.

"What about your parents? Where are your mothers and fathers?"

Ryo laughed. "You're right there, Mother." He beamed for finally knowing an answer to Robyn's questions.

Robyn sighed, but remembered what one of the Warlords said. She probably doesn't remember anythin' past yesterday much less 'er parents. It was true. The Neverlands made one forget. If she stayed in this dream, would she forget? How long until it would happen?

"The way is clear," Kayura hissed from above their heads.

Robyn jumped since she hadn't seen nor heard the flying girl come back.

"All the pirates are gone. We can steal a boat and row to shore," she told them with a wild grin.

The Lost Boys filed behind Kayura, ready to sneak across the deck. But Robyn hesitated.

If what the Warlords said were true, they were not the bad guys. They wanted to return the Lost Boys to their parents. Even if they were making money from it, that was a good thing, right? But did that mean Kayura was the villain?

Robyn didn't know what to do. She was concentrating so hard on this dilemma, it escaped her curiosity to wonder why the deck was completely empty when only moments ago, it was teeming with pirates.

The sun had set, but the moon was bright enough to light their way. Kayura pressed her finger to her lips for silence as they crossed the wooden deck.

Halfway to freedom, several lamps lit up, revealing that the pirates had been hiding behind crates, barrels and on the upper decks.

"It's a trap," Kayura screamed and bolted high into the air, disappearing among the sails.

Seeing that they were surrounded, the Lost Boys circled around Robyn, keeping their backs to her. From inside their animal skins, each pulled out a small knife and brandished it with snarls. Within seconds, all five engaged in a fight with a pirate.

Robyn watched the battle in fear, feeling sick at the thought of children fighting grown men. This wasn't right. The boys could get hurt. The pirates had to be stopped.

"Hook! You're mine," Kayura crowed from the top of the mast. Spotting Sekhmet on the upper deck, she dove down with her own knife out like a lance, aiming for the Warlord's heart.

Sekhmet met her with his cutlass, parrying her advances easily. "I told you, girl. My name is Sekhmet," he told her coolly. "It's your own doing to take me hand an' feed it to the crocotiger."

"And I'll take your other hand if I can," Kayura said with a smile.

Robyn stood aghast at Kayura's blood-thirsty words and violent nature. The young, sweet-looking girl fought to kill Sekhmet. Taking another look around, she observed the pirates instead of the Lost Boys. The grown men fought against the Ronins, but only in defense. Their actions were careful and hesitant, trying to disarm the boys instead of hurt them.

Finally making a decision, Robyn sprang at Dais, knowing which pocket to stick her hand in. Pulling out the photographs, she face the five children.

"Lost Boys, stop! Please," she shouted. "You aren't in any danger."

"But Kayura Pan says we must fight the pirates," Kento argued. "We follow the Pan."

The others growled threateningly.

"But she took you away from your parents. Look. Look at these and remember," she told them, holding out the photos.

At the sight, the Lost Boys' angry expressions melted away. Knives clattered onto the deck as they gathered closer to the photos.

"I remember her," Cye said, touching his mother's face. A tear leaked from his face.

"That's right. She's your mother. Your true mother," Robyn told him. "These are pictures of your families. Look, Kento. Those are your brothers and sisters. And Ryo, this is your grandmother. They all miss you and want you back."

Soon, the Ronins were bawling over their photos, begging to be returned to their loved ones. As for the pirates, they watched, glad to let Robyn pacify the Lost Boys.

"No!"

Kayura had disengaged in her fight with Sekhmet and hovered overhead. "Keep fighting! You're suppose to fight the pirates."

But the Lost Boys didn't listen or perhaps they didn't hear her over their own crying.

"They want to go home, Kayura. This isn't a game," Robyn shouted up to the flying girl.

"That's why I brought you to the Neverlands," Kayura yelled back. "They wanted a mother."

"But I'm not their mother. They want their real families."

"No," Kayura screeched. "They're suppose to stay here with me."

Without warning, a net fell from the crow's nest. Similar to the one Robyn was captured in, it dragged the flying girl to the deck floor.

Kayura screamed and kicked, trying to get out of the net. Dais and Cale rushed at her, to make sure she couldn't escape.

"Don't hurt her," Robyn pleaded.

"Don't worry, girlie," Cale said, his smile soft. "We're not that kind o' pirates."

"Even if she did take me hand, we wouldn't hurt 'er," Sekhmet added, joining them. "She's just a lonely girl lashin' out on the world."

"What are you going to do to her?" Robyn asked, feeling sorry for Kayura.

"Oh, we'll take 'er away from the Neverlands. She'll eventually forget how to fly," Sekhmet explained. "The people who ordered her bounty, they'll put 'er in an orphanage. She'll be well taken care of, taught how to behave, and eventually be adopted."

Robyn felt sad inside. There was something magical about the island and being able to fly. It didn't feel right taking Kayura away from the Neverlands.

Robyn's expression must have been obvious, because Sekhmet continued. "If we let 'er stay, she'll just steal away more children, makin' more parents sad. We cannot let 'er go."

"I guess it's for the best," Robyn relented.

By this time, Kayura had been freed from the net. Shackles of cast iron were clamped onto her ankles to prevent her from flying off again.

"Easiest bounty we'll collect," Cale said with a laugh. "Thanks to the red-head, we'll be gettin' a big pay off once we reach port."

Hearing Cale's words, Kayura's gaze locked onto Robyn. "You helped the pirates?" she shrieked. "You ruined everything." Despite the irons, Kayura rushed at Robyn, pushing her with a strength belying her size.

Robyn felt herself falling backward, her shoulders hitting the ship's railing before tumbling toward the water. It looked to be a thirty-foot drop, so Robyn had enough time to see the cold, dark water during her fall. But she never reached it.

From out of the depths, a large maw breached the ocean, opening wide to admit the girl down the gullet.

Robyn jumped, feeling tingly and groggy all over. It felt as if she had just awoken from a half-asleep dream about falling. She clamped onto the nearest thing, which was the cafè table. Her abrupt return from the dream had caused her hot cocoa mug to tip over, spilling a few droplets onto the table.

"Oh, I can't believe I told you that dream," Kayura said, trying to hide herself behind her hands and shrugging her shoulders. "I feel so embarrassed."

"Come on, Kayura. We know you don't act like that," Dais said, his grin widening. "You're the best behaved brat I've known."

Sekhmet's tone was less teasing. "There's nothing to be ashamed of. We can't control what happens in a dream or how we act. Our subconscious is an unpredictable thing."

"Oh, I just wished I hadn't pushed Robyn at the end," Kayura said, shaking her head. "Honestly, Robyn, I would never do that to you."

Robyn smiled weakly, her heart still pounding from the dream-fall feeling. "It was just a dream. Don't worry about."

Just a dream. Yeah right, Robyn thought to herself sarcastically. Just how realistic were these dreams going to get? So far, she had died in one, in another, she was pushed to her death. She hoped that the rest weren't so violent.

Robyn clenched her hands, knowing there were six more to go. And already Sage was opening his mouth to start telling his dream.